Heaven Can Wait Animal Society has never shied away from tackling an innovative project if it helps homeless animals. From our Pups on Parole program that pairs rescued dogs with female inmates to our monthly feral cat clinic that sterilizes hundreds of cats at a time, HCWS has always stepped up to a challenge.
In September 2012 we were put to the test again when we joined forces with the residents of two communities to spay and neuter all of the free roaming cats and owned pets in the neighborhood.
While our volunteer trappers are used to helping communities control feral cat colonies through Trap-Neuter-Return, this project was very unique.
- It ran non-stop for a full week.
- Residents played an active role with the spay/neuter team.
- Feral cats were kept away from the neighborhood after being sterilized.
With support from Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, the residents of these two back-to-back communities also entered into a two-year agreement with Heaven Can Wait to continue to have new pets and stray animals sterilized.
The trap-a-thon began on a Sunday and ran continuously 24-hours a day until every animal was fixed 8 days later.
Here is how it worked:
- Traps were set for the free roaming cats.
- A small group of residents volunteered to monitor the traps around-the-clock and contacted a member of the HCWS team whenever a cat was caught. This meant there was absolutely no downtime for the program – a very unique aspect.
- No matter what time of day or night, one of the volunteer trappers came to the community to take the cat to the HCWS clinic and re-set the trap for another feline.
- Cats were examined and sterilized, but remained at the clinic after their surgery instead of being released back into their neighborhood. This allowed for a better assessment of the number of cats that still had to be tcaptured.
- The fixed felines were given food and lots of attention while they stayed at the clinic. The staff called it their “Spa Week.”
- Owned pets were brought in for surgeries and released back to their owners.
At the end of the 8 days a total of 30 free roaming cats were sterilized, plus two pet cats. In addition, three kittens were taken into foster care after their mother was killed by a dog in the community. All are now fixed and have been adopted into new homes. A total of four dogs were neutered as well.
The event went off without a hitch, except for some unfinished business with a cat named Amanda. Amanda is a friendly free roaming feline who is cared for by everyone in the community. She had given birth shortly before the project began and hid away her litter for safekeeping. The residents followed Amanda back to her hiding place after her surgery and have continued to watch over her kittens since the spay-a-thon. Once the babies were old enough, they too were spayed and neutered. One of the kittens who is now called Sandy (pictured above) was adopted by a neighbor.
Heaven Can Wait would like to thank all of the residents who kept this very unique project running. We also send a special thanks to Jean Spaziani of C-5, HCWS trapper Susan Watkins and our clinic director Judy Erickson for working nonstop for 8 days and tackling a new approach to save homeless animals.
Filed under: Community, Programs Tagged: | animal rescue, animal welfare, animals, HCWS, Heaven Can Wait, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, homeless pets, Las Vegas feral cats, pet overpopulation, Pups On Parole, Spay and Neuter, Spay and Neuter Clinic, Trap-Neuter-Return